Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Facing "The Ugly Truth"

I went with friends to see The Ugly Truth recently. For those that do not know what the movie is about, here is a synopsis:

You may have seen coming attractions or advertisements with Katherine Heigl holding a heart by her head, and Gerard Butler holding a heart by his crotch. Right there, that should set the tone for the movie.

Admittedly, I kind of liked the movie. However, there were a few scenes, or even just a couple lines, where my mouth might have dropped and I said "That's not OK," or maybe even raised the eyebrow a few times. I realize it's just a movie, but I do want to highlight some of the social constructions depicted in the film that reflect the world we live in today.

First off, the entire movie is heterosexist.
They categorize the female lead to be a hopeless romantic, looking for love with the perfect guy. The lead male is a blunt, chauvinist who does not believe in relationships, just objectifies women and insists that's all men do (which might be true, but women do their share of objectifying others). This creates the "gender box" that all women are romantics that believe in true love, and all men "think with their dicks." While I might agree, that does not mean it is true-that is just bias.

Butler's character admits the "truth" about how men are in relationships. But does that go for all men? Is he just making generalizations? Or is he admitting what he would personally say/do? I think it's a combination of the last two.

In one scene, Butler's character said on his show ("The Ugly Truth") that [straight] men are incapable of love because [straight] men are only interested in "tits and ass."
Heigl's character calls in and tries to prove him wrong by describing what her type of a man is: charming, successful, muscular, etc.
Butler's character identifies her as a lesbian because he believes she described the perfect woman. Then when Heigl's character denies it, he assumes she's ugly. How does one come up with that??

Transitioning a little bit...I'd like to address the straight male audience. If a possible love interest calls you up, asks you out, and hangs up after you hesitate, do you call back? If you call back, and then she puts you on hold for more than 30 seconds, then hangs up, do you call back again??
I don't think this is represented well. It's unrealistic. Who has time (during the work day) to be put on hold? Ok, if you are bored, maybe that's different. But, if you're a doctor (like said character from the movie) would you have time for that? For me, I think it would be a mixture of "I don't have time for this" and "I'm not dealing with this hanging up business." Not all men and women are desperate!!

While I did enjoy most of the movie, there were just a few parts (such as the ones outlined above) that bothered me that I felt I needed to address. I'm just pointing out how the media adds to the social constructs that are ingrained into our thinking process. And then, there's just the last instance that is ridiculous and misleads people.

Mind you, this is just my take on the movie. You don't have to agree with it. And there are probably many other factors that I overlooked, but I'll leave it up to the viewing audience.

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